Monday, December 10, 2012

THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE BEATLES’ SONG, “I AM THE WALRUS”

For years, there have been discussions about who played the role of the Walrus in the song “I Am The Walrus” featured in the film Magical Mystery Tour. Of course, the composition was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon-McCartney) and he sings lead in the song, which uses the first person, “I am the Walrus” chorus. The words were filled with acid-tinged mysterious lyrics. Lennon loved the fact that teachers were starting to analyze Beatles lyrics. While writing the song, he remarked to his childhood friend Pete Shotton, who was visiting at the time, “Let the fuckers work that one out.”

In the film, we see John Lennon playing the piano and singing the song presumably in the Walrus costume. However, if you get the new Magical Mystery Tour DVD and listen to Paul’s audio commentary during the Walrus scene, Paul admits that both he and John had a little fun and both wore the Walrus costume at different points in the scene.
This sure looks like Paul in the Walrus costume!
You may recall that a year later, the Walrus issue came up again on The Beatles (White) Album. On the song, Glass Onion, we hear Lennon sing,
I Told You ‘Bout The Walrus And Me, Man
You Know That We’re About As Close As Can Be, Man
Well, Here’s Another Clue For You All
The Walrus Was Paul



Clearly, both Lennon and McCartney delighted in playing with their lyrics and putting in funny little things to see if their fans would catch them.
When the “Paul is Dead” rumour arose in the fall of 1969, college kids grabbed at the “Walrus is Paul” concept as yet another clue that Walrus’ were symbols of death. Paul became even more closely associated with the Walrus.


 


 
 However, just as some fans came to believe that the Walrus was Paul, Lennon stepped in to make things a bit more confusing.... In 1970, Lennon sang the lyrics to his song “God” which appeared on the Plastic Ono Band album. He sings:

I Was The Walrus
But now, I am John
     
And just when we thought The Walrus question couldn’t get more confused, things got even more mysterious...

In 1987, George Harrison got in on the act with his song and video from the Cloud 9 album, When We Was Fab. The video featured George on guitar, Ringo on drums and a mystery man in a Walrus costume playing left handed bass. Was it Paul? Was this a “Beatles” reunion? Unfortunately, the answer is no. 
Who is wearing the Walrus costume?
In a 1995 issue of "Record Collector, which featured an interview with Paul McCartney, he was asked, “Did you appear in George Harrison's video for "When We Was Fab"? There were stories that it was you inside the walrus costume.”

Paul replied:  “No. George wanted me to be in it but I wasn't available. So I suggested that he put someone else in a walrus costume & tell everyone that it was me. We've always had fun with the walrus thing. We don't lay many false trails but the walrus has always been one of them. Anyway, though it was me in the walrus costume in "Magical Mystery Tour", it WASN'T me in "When We Was Fab" - it was a joke between George & me, which we purposely decided not to tell anyone.”
So that leaves us with yet another mystery. Who was the Walrus in costume in George’s video? Given George’s sense of humour, he probably wanted us to spend eternity debating this silly question.

The Rock And Roll Detective® has just written a new book entitled, The Beatle Who Vanished. For more information: www.thebeatlewhovanished.com

© 2012 Rock And Roll Detective, LLC. Rock And Roll Detective® is a registered trademark of Rock And Roll Detective, LLC.

Monday, December 3, 2012

AC/DC Rides Again!

The Rock And Roll Detective® is happy to share this forum today with a guest writer who is also a music author, historian and researcher - to tell us about the first new album from Aussie Rockers AC/DC in twenty years! Rock it Susan…
 

Live at River Plate-AC/DC

By Susan Masino


AC/DC has just released Live at River Plate, their first live album in twenty years, recorded in December, 2009 in Buenos Aires. Playing in front of nearly 200,000 fans over three sold-out shows, this was their first time back to Argentina in 13 years. The album captures the band during their Black Ice tour, where they performed to over 5 million fans in 108 cities in over 28 countries. After being off the road for 7 years, AC/DC resurfaced in 2008 with Black Ice, and their world tour ended up grossing $513 million. Live at River Plate offers fans the choice of a 2-CD package featuring a 24 page booklet, or for the old school fans, a special 3 LP red vinyl package which comes with an exclusive 24” x 36” poster. For purely digital fans, their new album and entire back catalog are now available on iTunes.

AC/DC is one of those bands that has to be seen to be appreciated, and Live at River Plate brings to life why their concerts are always sold out. The song list includes 19 tunes opening with “Rock ’N’ Roll Train,” and covering everything from “Thunderstruck” to Bon Scott classics such as “Dog Eat Dog,” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” Included from the Black Ice album are the title song, “Big Jack,” and “War Machine,” the song that finally won them a long awaited Grammy award in 2010.

Listening to the roar of the audience especially when the band plays their two encores, “Highway To Hell,” and “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)”, brings back the excitement of being in the audience. I had the pleasure of seeing the band four times on the Black Ice tour, and each and every time they wore me out. God only knows how they pulled that show off over 100 times in less than two years. Live at River Plate proves that AC/DC is as strong as ever, and are not even close to showing signs of slowing down.
 
Celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2013, AC/DC is one of the top five highest grossing bands in history, and their classic anthems will have fans rocking out for decades to come. For those of you who were lucky enough to see them on their last tour, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who missed it, Live at River Plate is as close as you can get …until the next tour.

Susan Masino has been a rock journalist for over thirty years, and has written four books, created and hosted the Madison, Wisconsin  94.1 JJO Local Stage radio show from 1997-2004. She also appears in the Van Halen DVD, The Early Years, www.van-halen.com and Let There Be Rock-The Movie. Her book, Let There Be Rock-The Story of AC/DC, is now in 10 languages and can be found along with her new book, Family Tradition-Three Generations of Hank Williams at www.amazon.com. For more information please go to www.susanmasino.com.

 

 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unreleased Beatles Demos For Sale

Two unheard Beatles demos could be big attraction in December auction.
  • November 29, 2012
  • By:
  •  
    Two very rare unreleased Beatles acetates being auctioned in December by Bonhams in London could attract high prices because of the possibility even collectors haven't heard them, “Rock And Roll Detective” and Beatles historian Jim Berkenstadt told Beatles Examiner.
    The two tracks are a 1963 demo recording of “What Goes On” and a 1966 demo of “Granny Smith,” which later became “Love You To," a track on the "Revolver" album.

    You can read the rest of the article at the Examiner. The article sites the Rock And Roll Detective as an authority.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/two-unheard-beatles-demos-could-be-big-attraction-december-auction


     

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Big Emmy Wins for George Harrison: Living in the Material World

    I am so happy to share  the news that the documentary produced by Olivia Harrison and Directed by Martin Scorsese has one two Emmy Awards. One is for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special and the other is for Outstanding Directing. I served as Historical Consultant on the film and still recall my excitement the night Olivia Harrison called to ask me to work on this amazing film. It was a great honor and experience.

    You can read about the Emmys here: http://www.examiner.com/article/george-harrison-documentary-wins-two-creative-arts-primetime-emmys

    If you would like to see the film you can purchase the DVD at amazon.com:
    http://www.amazon.com/George-Harrison-Living-Material-World/dp/B007JWKLMO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347895059&sr=8-1&keywords=living+in+the+material+world+george+harrison+dvd

    You can also learn more about George Harrison at: www.georgeharrison.com

    Next project is the release of my new book, The Beatle Who Vanished. You can learn more about this mysterious Beatle here: www.thebeatlewhovanished.com



    (c)2012 Rock And Roll Detective (r), LLC.
    All rights reserved.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    The Best Classic Rock “Long-Songs” Playlist



    It's time to travel back in time and recall some of the greatest and longest songs of classic rock. Does quantity equal quality? It sure does with these tracks. If I failed to mention one of your favorites, let us know below. I would have loved to put up the sound files, but that would be a copyright issue. If you are 45 years old and above, these should be in your collection. If you are under 45, well you need to visit iTunes and you will find them all there. Enjoy.


    Low Spark of High Heel Boys - Traffic
    In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
    Hey Jude – The Beatles
    Layla – Derek & the Dominos
    The End – The Doors
    Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ – The Rolling Stones
    Jungleland – Bruce Springsteen & the East Street Band
     

    Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
    Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
    Whipping Post (live) – The Allman Brothers
    Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
    Southern Man – Neil Young
    I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – The Beatles
    I Want to Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone
    Eurotrash Girl – Cracker (not really classic rock era, but a great long rocker nonetheless)
    Keep on Chooglin – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    No Woman, No Cry (live 1975) – Bob Marley & the Whalers
    Papa Was A Rolling Stone – The Temptations
    Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills & Nash
    I’m Your Captain – Grand Funk Railroad
    Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group
    Heroin – Lou Reed

    (c) 2012 Rock And Roll Detective (r)
    For more information on my new book, The Beatle Who Vanished, go to www.thebeatlewhovanished.com

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    The Beatles release new iTunes Album Collection Celebrating 50th Anniversary

    Fiftieth anniversary of Fab Four's first hit to be celebrated with 14-track career retrospective

    This article is excerpted from the Guardian.co.uk 
    The Beatles in 1963
    'I have drowned myself in the depth of their catalogue' … Dave Grohl on the Beatles. 
    The Beatles are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first hit with a new compilation of songs you probably already own. Tomorrow Never Knows, a "powerful collection … of the Beatles' most powerful rock songs", will be sold via iTunes.

    The track-list is not exactly a showstopper. Opening with Revolution, closing with The End, it features 14 tracks from across the band's discography. Nothing here is new or unreleased – nothing is a demo or even a mono mix. Despite the breathless prose of the press release, the only interesting detail is the price: Tomorrow Never Knows costs about half of what it would take to purchase its individual songs.

    There are no other plans to celebrate the five-decade mark, according to the LA Times. A spokeswoman confirmed that Tomorrow Never Knows will not be released on CD or vinyl.

    Rock And Roll Detective comments: Regarding the last sentences of this article. Want to bet there will be something else special in store for Beatles fans in the coming years to celebrate the 50th?

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    The Beatles Use Two Different Drummers For One Audition!

    Billy Fury and Larry Parnes
    On May 10, 1960, The Beatles, (who were then known as The Silver Beatles), were invited to an audition at the Blue Angel Club in Liverpool. The club was owned by Allan Williams who claims to be The Beatles' first manager. Rock manager Larry Parnes came up from London to audition Liverpool groups and to choose a backing band for his singer Billy Fury, who was planning a tour of Scotland.

    Other audition hopefuls along with The Silver Beatles, included: Cass and the Cassanovas, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cliff Roberts and the Rockers, and Derry and the Seniors.  At the time, The Silver Beatles' line up consited of: John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Stu Sutcliffe (on bass) and drummer Tommy Moore. Unfortunately, Moore was late to the audition when it was time for The Silver Beatles to begin. According to George Harrison, "When we arrived at the club our drummer hadn't shown up, so Johnny Hutchinson, the drummer with Cass and the Cassanovas, sat in with us. I don't think we played particularly well or particularly badly." 
    L-R Sutcliffe, Lennon, McCartney, Hutchinson and Harrison
    
    What is not known, is that The Silver Beatles' drummer did show up that day for the tryout, marking perhaps the only day in Beatles history, that they used two drummers for the same live performance. Tommy Moore arrived and stepped behind the kit to help The Silver Beatles finish their tryout.
    Tommy Moore drumming
     These two rare photos from the same date, show Tommy Moore behind the drum kit playing with John, Paul, George and Stu (who was still learning his chords, with his back to us). According to Paul McCartney, "We had to tell Stuart to turn the other way: 'Do a moody - do a big Elvis pose.' If anyone had been taking notice they would have seen that when we were all in [the key of] A, Stu would be in another key."
    Tommy Moore drumming
    One might wonder if John Lennon said to Larry Parnes - at the end of their tryout - the same thing he uttered on the rooftop of Apple, after the last Beatles live performance, "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition." Lennon did take the opportunity to ask the star Billy Fury for his autograph.
    L-R Fury and Lennon
    On May 18th, The Silver Beatles were informed they would not be chosen to back Billy Fury, but rather another singer from Parnes' stable, Johnny Gentle.  The Silver Beatles would tour Scotland backing Gentle, with Tommy Moore as their drummer.

    In an interesting twist, Parnes had yet another band criss-crossing Scotland at the time. The group was called Vince Eager and the Quiet Three. This band contained yet another drummer who would briefly join The Beatles in a few years. His name was Jimmie Nicol.
    Jimmie Nicol with Vince Eager Scotland 1960
    To learn more about where and when Jimmie Nicol crossed paths with The Beatles, check out www.thebeatlewhovanished.com for more information about the forthcoming book and to get on the email list.


    (c) 2012 Rock And Roll Detective(r), LLC.

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Want to meet Ringo Starr?

    Ringo Starr the artist, is coming to a Pop art gallery near you. That is if you live near New York. On June 25, 2012, Starr will be appearing at the Pop International Galleries (473 W. Broadway) and you can go meet him. That is if you are invited. It is a private function, "by invitation only".

    The Rock And Roll Detective was there in 2005 for this event. It was very cool. This year, Ringo has a new batch of art, or as my daughter calls it, "KidPix". It is very colorful.

    Now the question on everone's mind is: How do I get invited? It's very easy. You become a client and purchase a piece of Ringo's art (ahead of time), and you get to meet a Beatle and an artist! Good luck getting a moment alone with the drummer. The place is so packed that you may never get over to his side of the room. But, if you are tall, you will see him!


    By the way, his artwork is all autographed. So, whatever you do, if you go, don't ask him for an autograph! After all, he already signed the artwork. Have a good time.


    (c) Rock And Roll Detective(r), All rights reserved. Arwork: (c) Ringo Starr

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

    "Louie Louie", The FBI and the History of Northwest Rock And Roll

    No one could really understand the lyrics of "Louie Louie" as recorded by The Kingsman. Except perhaps former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. He was outraged by the muddled singing. Hoover wrote to one informer (whose name is blanked out in the documents released by the FBI): 'Such material cannot help but divert the minds of young people into unhealthy channels, and negate the wholesome training they have already been afforded by their parents.' Eventhough, the words were indecipherable !

    Regardless of what the FBI thought The Kingsman were singing, the irony is, the FBI turned the song into one of the biggest hits in rock history by making such a big deal out of investigating it.

    Jerry Dennon was the man repsonsible for getting this song played around the country. Dennon is now the subject of a new DVD documentary entitled “Louie Louie and the History of Northwest Rock & Radio,” recemtnly released March 15, 2012 by SoundWorks USA, Inc., a multi-media entertainment, manufacturing and content company based in Redmond, Wash.

    Jerry Dennon
    With Northwest singer-songwriter Bonnie Guitar, Dennon formed Jerden Records (using the first three letters of his first and last name). In 1963, Jerden released the now-legendary Kingsmen single, “Louie Louie,” the most popular version of a 1955 Richard Berry song that became one of the most frequently recorded songs of rock ‘n’ roll. (The song is ranked No. 55 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”)

    Dennon's story and the history of Northwest Rock & Radio is a facinating and fun tale of early rock and roll in the wild wild Northwest. Here is the link to the DVD: http://www.soundworks.net/thehistoryofnorthwestrockvol4battleofthebands-1.aspx

    Enjoy.
    (c) 2012 The Rock And Roll Dective(r)



    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    The Beatles and their Animals!

    Have you ever wondered where they all come from? It is amazing, once you think about it... just how many songs The Beatles wrote that referenced animals. Take for example the two dog songs and one cat song...

    1. Martha My Dear... Paul's song about his sheep dog Martha;

    
    2. Hey Bulldog... which was Paul and John's afterthought song for the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, or Songtrack as it is now known. This song rocks and is unique in its vocal interplay - barking and joking - as the song plays out.
     


    3. Leave My Kitten Alone. Well, okay, it is not really about John's kitten. It is really a girl he is singing about. But still, an animal reference nonetheless.
     



    Then we know that The Beatles seemed interested in the aviary of birds. Although I suspect there was a clever analogy there! We have Blackbird for example. Again, despite the chirping sound effects, Paul was writing about the civil rights movement in the 60s and the role of black women. The tune, And Your Bird Can Sing comes to mind as more winged-writing from the group.

    Next we get to the more intesting animals such as Dig a Pony and I Am The Walrus. Once again the lyrics don't support a story about animals, yet there are those references again.

    

    Finally, The Beatles just cannot leave out the more exotic creature-songs such as : Piggies, Octopus's Garden, Rocky Racoon and Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey! And then of course, we have Good Morning, Good Morning where the progressive sounds of larger and larger animals are heard.

    After the breakup, you might think the solo Beatles would have focused on other things. But No! They kept referencing animals; as this lifelong animal fetish continued!

    We got Fish on the SandPisces Fish, and Baltimore Oriole from George Harrison.

    And who can forget Paul McCartney's classic Mary Had A Little Lamb. McCartney continued his animal rights activity with Looking for Changes,  Wild Life, and Linda's White Coated Man.


    During his solo career, John Lennon didn't shy away from animal references either, penning Free As A Bird, that would be used after his death as a Beatles reunion track. And he even named one of his albums Shaved Fish!



    Even Ringo Starr got in the act with: Bye Bye Blackbird; Monkey See-Monkey Do; and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

    Where did all of these animals come from?



    2012 (c) Rock And Roll Detective(r)